The HeliOS Project is now.....

The HeliOS Project is now.....
Same mission, same folks...just a different name

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Let Their Eyes Be Opened...

Editor note...upon the passing of Linux and Technology advocate Bruno Knaapen, we've renamed the Center to The Bruno Knaapen Technology Learning Center.  Thank you Bruno.


We've been threatening to do this for some time.

It is now a done thing...

Mostly anyway. A touch here and there...

Two months ago, Christina Collazo contacted me and asked if I was up to a challenge. She had been tasked with putting together an East Austin Computer Learning Center and didn't really know how to do it.

We do...

And we did.

For those that don't know, East Austin isn't exactly Beverly Hills...

Not by anyone's stretch of the imagination. Through it's reputation for violence, gang activity and drug trade, East Austin is populated with some of the nicest people there are.

I now know many of them. Hard-working and loving people that just haven't yet found their way out of that place. Others do not...they have nice, comfortable homes and for them this IS home...they wouldn't leave if paid to do so.

We decided to do what we could to give them a hand...a guiding hand out of there.

Roll Call...the answered calling.

Tom King
Roy Hall
Chris Scott
Skip Guenter
Ceasar and Christina Collazo

These were the people that assembled at the 2200 block of East 2nd Street on the 15th of August to make this Learning Center a reality.

With the temperature already in the mid-90's, we arrived at the back entrance of the Cristo Rey Catholic Church...this is the wonderful place that houses the Learning Center. Carrying in huge CRT monitors, computer boxes and various and asundry fixtures, this team went to work transforming a barren room into a place of learning and hope.

A place powered by the will of a global community.

A place powered by Linux.

There's not a lot to tell about the process...a lot of heavy labor, younger knees than mine crawling under tables to connect cat 5 to the adjoining sockets...testing, adjusting, testing, replacing, testing...and ultimately...


This place will be used by the entire community. We have pledged one person to teach classes a week and Christina Collazo, the Director of the Center, has another person coming in to do the same in Spanish. I want to personally thank Ceasar Collazo for his strong back, ultimate patience and warm smile. It literally made the day work for us.

I want to thank everyone who took part in this...and not just the folks mentioned above.

There was a huge amount of time and fuel expended in running to get missing or broken parts and components. The day cost us a few hundred dollars but you...the people that support us, made that possible by becoming a member of the "Walk A Kid Home" program. A simple effort to fund the building and installation of individual computers for these kids. We blew through most of it in a three day period...but that's three dozen computers built and delivered all over Central Texas. Thank you. You made this happen.

It's you folks that made this possible. My thanks go out to those who help us do what we do.

You are the architects of this project...

we are just swinging the hammer.

All-Righty Then...


Michael Rapport - Tech Support Honcho said...

Let me make sure I am understanding this.

On Saturday, you organized and help install a 25 computer learning center. Then the next day you begin a 2400 mile trip to secure computers for your organization.

No, I wouldn't exactly call you a hero. I would however start looking for a big red "S" under your shirt.

Mike Rapport - Indianapolis

Victor J Kinzer said...

I have to say this is especially awesome. I really hope these centers become common in other parts the country. As someone who used to live in Austin I remember east Austin, and this is an AMAZING resource for you to make available. Keep up the good work.

Unknown said...

Helios... a few weweks ago on your blog you gave the name of some people here in florida that were collecting computers and doing what you do... i looked thru you blog and could not find it again.. could you post it up again..

thanks.. and keep up the good work..

Anonymous said...

Great work! I hope to do something similar here in the Philippines someday. I want to wean people away from pirated proprietary software (and proprietary software in general). A request, would it be possible to have a printable version of these pages? Thanks!

Unknown said...

@ Pete

You bet...will look when I get home...out doing installs

@ Anon. Print friendly? You mean this blog? I think I can do that.

@Ax_D_WhiteMan said...

Great job !

I'm a General Contractor in Austin and have done several East Side projects over the years. I'm also a part time Linux Geek - let me know if you need some help with the learning center. (things are kind of slow anyway)

Shane kerns said...

My name is Shane and I have been following your blog for a very very long time. I adore the heartfelt work you do. I live in San Diego and I am a programmer and linux systems admin for a certain firm here in SD.
I am very very free on weekends to donate my time. If you know of any such project as yours here in SD please let me know how I could help. My email is nightfader gmail.

NoobixCube said...

I love reading about things like this. You and your friends and associates are having a profound effect on the lives of so many young people. Some of my friends just don't seem to understand how important your work is; they don't see that what you do is just as important as giving people clothes and food and helping with rent. I struggle to name jobs that don't require you to use a computer at least somewhere these days, most of them are labouring jobs. If I were hiring a secretary, or a data entry clerk, I'd hire the one who's proficient with office software and can type at 80 words per minute, not the one who's never used a computer before.

What you do has the potential to break the poverty cycle. I think they call it "hereditary poverty". You and the people you work with deserve some kind of award from the city.

Michael said...

@Pete: I think that was me,, we're located in between Tampa and Orlando, and always on the lookout for P4 or better computers.

@Ken: Great work with the community center. Like Victor said, this kind of thing is really good for the whole community.

Gil said...

Ken, we had coffee a while back round the corner at McD's. It's good to see you made good on that threat. I would welcome the opportunity to be of assistance, if nothing else as grunt labor, next time you take on such a project.

Colonel Panik said...

Where is that guy that said "There isn't any Linux Community"?

Saturday August 15 in Albuquerque NM
another gtoup of those "not a Linux Community types did a reinstall
and upgrade of the computers at:

Social Networking indeed!

Anonymous said...


You continue to shine and wrap people with your love, care and support. You give us all hope and a breathe of fresh air when it comes to freedom in technology and opportunities!

We thank you and wish you all the best!

Thank you for your dedication and compassion!


Unknown said...

@ Regis,

If you see this please email me at helios at fixedbylinux dott kommm